An official gauge of the mood among consumers and businesses showed Thursday that the euro zone economy remains fragile, with manufacturers and builders growing more pessimistic about their prospects even though the sovereign debt crisisseems to have eased, the New York Times reports.
The economic sentiment indicator compiled by the European Commission, based on surveys of business managers and consumers, slipped by 0.1 point to 94.4. A reading below 100 points indicates that pessimism prevails and adds to evidence that the euro zone economy is in recession. The sharpest drops in sentiment were among manufacturers and builders, offsetting improvement among consumers and retailers.
There was some good news for the region on Thursday, as a new report showed German unemployment fell, continuing to defy the trend in the rest of the euro zone. At the same time, a decline in orders for German machinery and other industrial goods showed that the country is not immune to the problems afflicting its neighbors.
Despite their success selling cars and machinery to China and other emerging markets, German exporters remain dependent on other euro zone countries for sales.